Now is a brilliant time to get small children interested in natural history. New TV series Planet Earth II and Andy’s Baby Animals combined with museum visits get my 3-year-old daughter Tilly hooked.
Transforming a child’s behaviour can come from the least expected of places. When organised play isn’t working, try talking them away into nature. That’s just what we did with Tilly and it worked wonders.
Inspired by the National Trust’s excellent ’50 things to do before you’re 11¾’, I take a look at which of the fifty activities Tilly has already completed as she approaches 3¾. It’s rather more than I thought…
I do enjoy a good walk but getting my daughter similarly enthused isn’t always straightforward. Traditional walks for us grown ups often revolve around a stop at a recommended hostelry. Giving a child-friendly twist to the format, I decided to see if I could entice Tilly on a walk with a family friendly pub as the goal.
Revisiting the National History Museum in Tring and making the new discovery of Tring Park, next door.
Months of being stuck inside are drawing to a close and we’ve been making use of our National Trust membership to rediscover nature with some fabulous days out.
We’ve finally started seeing some hot, summery weather and with family visiting have been looking for somewhere to go for fun that’s out of the heat. Woodland is excellent for keeping cool on warm days so I opted to take the family to Penn Wood, one of the largest woods near to us and somewhere I’ve enjoyed returning to over the past few years. The woods were an instant hit with Tilly, who set about running around the trees, throwing leaves around and generally having a ball.
We’ve been great fans of the Gruffalo trails at our local Forestry Commission site in Wendover Woods, marking the book’s 15th anniversary last year. The trails have recently been updated for the new season with a new theme based around the Superworm book. We took the opportunity over the Easter holidays to check it out.
For Tilly’s 2nd birthday I set out a list of experiences for her to do and see over the coming year. One of these is to share one of my favourite pastimes of taking in a panorama atop a hill. As we live in the Chiltern hills, this is happily an easily achievable task and one that would allow me to take Tilly to what I rate as one of the finest viewpoints in the area. All that was needed was the right day and weather.
The warmth and long days of the summer are receding quickly now but the weather is still good enough to take little ones foraging for the specialities of the season. These make for excellent sensory experiences for children: touch, smell and taste; all ready from the taking in your garden, local park or a hedgerow near you.